-- While the focus of the 2008 Stanley Cup finals has been to create a new rivalry between the Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, for two former roommates it’s a chance to renew a long-standing friendship.
Red Wings forward Mark Hartigan and Penguins defenseman Ryan Malone were college teammates together at St. Cloud State in Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. After spending four seasons together they meet again, this time as opponents in the Cup finals.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Malone said. “Mark was a great roommate back in school and obviously; he’s a great hockey player.”
Although Hartigan has not found much ice time during the playoffs, Malone recognizes Hartigan’s strong offensive ability.
“He broke all the scoring records at St. Cloud and his senior year,” Malone said. “He was the first guy I saw to score on a slap shot on a breakaway.”
That slap shot capped off Hartigan’s only collegiate hat trick during his senior season.
“Although it would be funny to line up against him” Malone said, “I won’t be afraid to run him over.”
Malone, on the other hand, has found substantial ice time for the Penguins.
“He’s tough to play against,” Hartigan said. “He’s big and strong and he’s one of those guys
|Ryan Malone |
that will do anything for his team. He plays in every situation out there on the ice.”
Malone has found success in the playoffs with 15 points (six goals, nine assists.) in 14 games.
“He’s been playing great for them,” said Hartigan, who later joked, “I wish him luck, but not all the luck.”
When asked if any side wager was made between friends, Malone laughed it off.
“We both live in Minnesota now, his family and my family are pretty close,” Malone said, “so we’ll probably get a babysitter one night, and the loser has to buy drinks for the other couple.”